We head north up the F1 freeway quite often to visit Nan & Pop on the farm. We like to leave early to avoid all of the traffic and as a result we are often travelling on empty bellies and totally "non-caffeinated". This makes for a fairly grumpy car load of Little Munchers. Now the only place on the freeway to find sustenance is the Maccas/Olivers Fresh food and in my opinion both serve crap coffee and their food leaves a lot to be desired. Today I am pleased to announce to y'all that we have discovered a place where you can refuel your body, mind and spirit and it is only a 5 minute detour off the freeway, and it would also make the perfect little day trip from Sydney. Let me introduce the Milk Factory Cafe.
The Milk Factory Cafe is located in a complex that was once the Wyong Milk Factory. This complex is home to not only the cafe but also a cheese shop, a chocolate shop, a biscuit wholesale shop, a gym and others! If you sample delights from all of the foodie stores then a workout at the gym afterwards is probably a good idea, but alas we were travelling and I forgot to wear my Lorna Jane lycra!
The cafe is open from 7.00am, a perfect time for those that hit the road early. There is loads of parking and even dedicated parent parking spots! Once you've unloaded your tribe, your kidlets will no doubt spy the awesome playground and want to head straight there. Now you have two choices - 1) ignore them and go straight to the cafe to caffeinate yourself, or 2) give in to them and let them have a play in the fully fenced playground. The second option isn't that bad if you have an adult travelling companion who can place your order at the cafe. You can sit in the playground and eat your meal but we only realised this after we had ignored the boys and dragged them into the cafe to eat first.
If you have older kids who have road sense you can leave them in the playground whilst you eat at the cafe as you will have a fairly good view of them from the outdoor dining area. But our boys are too young for this - there is a driveway between the cafe and the playground and cars were coming in and out of it quite often. A brightly coloured pedestrian crossing connects the cafe and the playground, but there is no way the boys could negotiate that by themselves and they are tall little dudes so they can get in and out of gates quite easily.
There is plenty of seating outside of the cafe, some is on ground level and the rest is up on the verandah - which can be accessed by a ramp if you have a pram with you. If you arrive and all of this seating is taken you can go up stairs to the roof area where there is even more seating (but obviously not pram friendly). High chairs are available and there are both big and small tables available to suit different sized families.
You will find menus on the table in the cafe and once you have made your decision you go up and order and pay at the front counter. The staff were very friendly in that lovely country way. The day we dined it was Halloween and the ladies on the front counter gave the boys a treat out of the pumpkin head, which made the boys oh so happy as you can't really "trick or treat" at a farm because the neighbours are a bit of a hike away.
Mr Munch and I were both in dire need of caffeine and we were amused by the varieties on offer. Neither of us are decalf or half calf kind of people and it was a bit early for an Irish Calfee so we just ordered our usual regular morning cappuccinos, with full cream moo! They serve Belaroma coffee which is quite a creamy blend but still hit the spot perfectly.
The menu is quite extensive and whilst they don't specifically have a kidlets menu there are so many options for them to eat. The boys had Banana Bread ($4.50), as well as Toast with Vegemite ($4.00). They washed these down with a kids size milkshake and a babycino. They also serve raisin toast, ham & cheese croissants, eggs on toast and mooberry muesli which may be suitable for your little ones. If you are just after some morning/afternoon tea there are loads of baked goodies including some amazing looking cookies from the Vintage Biscuit Lady who has a wholesale business located within the Old Milk Factory.
The little beauty that I chose for breakfast was the Croque Madame. The ham and gruyere cheese sandwich was lathered in Dijon mustard and then pan fried with a couple of googly eggs on top. The meal was delicious but a bit too rich for my stomach so early in the morning. Mr Munch went for the Barnyard Benedict - you can choose between ham, bacon and smoked salmon as your protein and as he didn't stop raving about it for the rest of the morning I presume it was very good.
If you arrive at lunch time you will find a big variety of light meals, burgers and share plates available. Some examples are the awesome sounding tequila and lime battered flathead fillets and a caramel pulled pork burger. Friday to Sunday they fire up the wood fire oven and pump out some delicious sounding pizzas for $17.00 ( we have these on our radar for our next visit).
After breakfast the boys dragged us along the brightly coloured pedestrian crossing to the playground. The playground is very cute and contains a cubby house, pirate ship, swings, loads of space to run around and tables where you can of course eat your meal. If you need to use the toilets, just a wee bit down (pardon the pun) from the playground you will find excellent and spotlessly clean toilets complete with a parents room.
Another awesome activity you can do during your visit to the Old Milk Factory is to pretend you are pirates and go for a row or kayak on the Wyong River. The cost for this is $30 per hour or $90 for half a day for a 4 person row boat and $20 per hour/$60 per half day for a kayak. This must be booked in advance through the gym that is on site - telephone 02 43523811 for bookings. There is even a BBQ area located on top of the river in case you want a DIY lunch.
Depending on what time you have visited the Old Milk factory another must is to visit the cheese and chocolate shops. The quaint Little Creek Cheese shop is home to some delicious sounding cheeses where you can taste test before you buy, alas it was too early for us to taste them as they open at 10am. Likewise with Luka Chocolates, the home of hand crafted artisan chocolates. They also have a groovy small cafe on site where you can indulge in chocolatey treats as well as lunch and their stunning looking gift boxes are available online for purchase if you aren't able to visit during opening hours.
Now, back to refuelling your mind, body and spirit. So if you have over indulged in all things food then you can get a total body overhaul by going to the gym, having a massage and also a hair cut as these are all businesses within the complex. I'm not sure if you are allowed in there but there is also a wood turners on site and the lovely smell of freshly turned wood permeates the air.
If I had a 6 lollipop score the Milk Factory Cafe would most definitely score it! This place is perfect for a pit stop on your travels or a day trip from Sydney. It took us about an hour to get there and it is such an easy drive up the freeway. We have plans to go back soon for some row row row your boat action and a pizza lunch (and possibly a sneaky visit to the cheese and chocolate shops!).
So tell me Little Munchers where are your favourite pit stops when you are travelling north out of Sydney?
141 Alison Rd, Wyong NSW
02 4355 4587
Open 7 days a week from 7.00am - 4.00pm